Black Iron's Glory - Chapter 325

Claude returned to his room, furious. He couldn't believe the old bastard would go so far, or suspect him of such vulgarity. Then again, he supposed the old man was getting on for years. He was probably a little senile and not thinking straight. The old were also always suspicious of the young. He was not just some freeloader, spunging off them by staying at their grace. He was a tenant, a paying lodger. He was due some respect, or at least some courtesy.

If the bastard wanted to play the suspicion game, then fine. Two could play that game. If the bastard was arrogant enough to think he could win, however, he was woefully mistaken. Claude wondered who he should seduce. It took him only a moment of thought to decide on Doris. Halbena may be a sweet girl, but he was going to bed them, so he had to pick someone who could at least arouse him. It would also be much easier going after Doris, given how lustful and repressed he knew she already was. She'd already tried to put the moves on him once, and the very moment they'd met at that. He just had to give her a hint or two that he might be interested and she would no doubt come running at him, already naked.

He laid down on his bed, doing his best to tune out the bastard's hammering, and started plotting the girl's seduction.

The day waned quickly, and Doris brought his dinner to his room. Claude glanced over her shoulder and noticed the old bastard wasn't hovering over her as usual. He mentioned the matter of the door in passing.

"Does he think a door can stop me? If I really wanted to get upstairs, I'd go through the floor."

Doris glanced disbelievingly at his completely dry face and giggled.

"Why don't you make one, then?"

"Better not. I wouldn't want you to cry when I come out under your bed."

The girl clutched her mouth with one hand to stifle her giggles, but the other slowly slid down her side to her hip where she held it tightly against her side to keep it from going somewhere more suggestive.

"I promise I won't scream."

Claude shook his head again.

"Women are fickle. Just one scream and my reputation is ruined."

"Hmph. Coward!" she blurted over her shoulder as she left.

Claude smiled mischievously. He had her. That's how it appeared, at least. She might be playing him for a fool.

Dinner was mediocre, nothing special, but enough to fill his stomach. He had a spoonful of mashed potatoes and minced meat, a slice of black bread and a couple strips of bacon, a grilled steak and a cup of blackwheat ale. The steak was probably salted beef. The salt couldn't be washed out after it had set in so much.

Doris returned half an hour later to take the dishes.

"I suppose I'll make a hole after all," he murmured absentmindedly a she took the plates in front of him.

"I dare you," she half-whispered, rolling her eyes.

Natalie asked what Claude had said about the meal as Doris was closing the door, but she just said she didn't speak to him. The woman grumbled about Doris' lack of thoroughness and came into the room. Her face was all smiles as it came into view, despite how unhappy she'd sounded just a moment earlier.

He praised the meal, though spared his praise on the steak. He took the chance to ask about Zasrak's door under the guise of being surprised at his carpentry. He asked if he could make him a tub for his bedroom. Naturally he would pay for it. He also asked for a brazier since he would be up for most of the night reading and writing and might want tea.

Natalie was more than happy to help since he was paying. She was somewhat hesitant over the brazier. Coal wasn't cheap. Claude knew what she was thinking and said he'd get his own coal. He would get a large bag from the college and anything left over would be left for them. She happily accepted a thale and went to inform her husband of his new job.

Doris brought the brazier about a quarter of an hour later, leaving it outside his room. It was close enough to be just under the edge of the roof, and safe from the rain, but far enough that the smoke wouldn't get into the house. Natalie came by a little while later and lit it, leaving a small copper kettle before she departed.

Claude closed the door to his room and began his work. He cast Silence on the room and investigated the ceiling. He needed to make it under the woman's bed so it would be hidden from prying eyes. The bed would be right above his, since the two rooms had the same layout.

The old house's first floor was just a single layer of planks, which made it easy for him to open a passage between the two floors. The beams were close together, but just far enough apart for him to fit. Normally floor boards would span the full width of the house, but Zasrak was a cheapskate. He had settled for throw-away pieces, so it was simply a matter of loosening the ends nailed to the cross-beams, which Magus' Hands did in a jiffy.

The nails had rusted, however, and the planks creaked and scraped as the nails were pulled free from the beams. Silence kept the sound in the room, however, so no one besides Claude heard a thing.

Four planks later he had enough of a hole to slip through. A chair on his bed would give him enough height to reach the roof, and from there it was just a case of lifting himself through the hole.

No one would notice the hole from the room above without moving the bed either, which he doubted happened more than once a year, so he was completely safe. Claude cast Eye of Appraisal and checked the room above. The bed floor under the bed was free of dust, so it had been recently cleaned. There were also a couple chests in front of the bed, hiding him even better.

He brought the boards down one after another, snapped the tips of the nails off so they wouldn't dig into the beams again, and replaced them where they were. Now all that was left was to satisfy Doris enough that she would not tell anyone.

Someone knocked on the door. Claude had to fight to keep himself from gasping in fright. He succeeded after a considerable battle and opened the door. The old f*cker was outside.

"I want to talk about the tub," he said mechanically, "I can't make it too big since it has to be moved into the room after being built."

Claude yawned.

"As big as you can is fine. Just make sure it's deep enough so I can completely submerge."

The old bastard gave him a you-spoilt-brat glance. The little brat might have some reputation, but he was not going to let that stop him from milking him while he had the chance. He decided not to spite the fool with poor workmanship though. He didn't think he would leave with the tub when he was done with his studies, so it would stay with the family. He would only be spiting himself if he did bad work. If he did good work, however, he would be paid for making a good bed for his own house.

The old man took a couple measurements of the door, then left without another word. Claude didn't bother with him either. He had better things to do, like bedding his daughter-in-law, so he waited quietly for him to finish and leave. Now all that was left was waiting for the poor victim to return to her room.

He heard the girl walk into her room an hour later. Her footsteps were unusually loud and Claude smiled.

She stopped in front of her bed, close to where his head would be on the bed in the room below hers, and stomped loudly.

"Stop it or I'll burst through the floor!" he shouted.

"I'm waiting. Let me see if you have the balls," she said, surprisingly soft for how loud it rang in his ears.

Lust dripped off her voice.

Zasrak could be heard shouting something from the stairs, probably for the two girls to go to bed already. A moment later the light seeping through the cracks between the floorboards dimmed.

The room was quiet for a couple minutes.

"Are you coming up or not? I'm going to fall asleep at this rate."

The lust dripped again.

"Alright, then. Here I come."

Claude had the chair ready. He clambered onto it and pushed the boards out of the way softly. He stuck his head through the hole to see Doris' face staring at him from the edge of the bed, upside down. Her eyes were wide and her mouth open in one of the cutest disbelief-filled faced Claude had ever seen.

"Wasn't bluffing," he said, whispering for some absurd reason.

She smiled lustily and waved him up.

"Quickly," she whispered, her voice already husky.

She dragged him from the hole, out from under the bed, and swung him onto the bed in one fluid motion. He had not even time to bounce off the mattress. She was already on top of him, kissing him, violating his mouth with her tongue and licking his cheek, chin, and neck as if tasting a meal while her hands worked to undress him.

Their clothes literally flew all over the room, and less than a minute later he drenched himself in her juices as he parted her. She moaned breathily and her eyes glowed with a lust he'd not seen in any of the women he'd bedded before. She turned into a demon and rode him like a horse.

Claude barely had time to cast Silence before she started gasping and moaning without a care in the world. The bed, and even the floorboards, creaked for the rest of the night.


Claude woke to Halbena's knocking the next morning. He stumbled out of bed, nearly collapsing to the floor when his tired legs nearly gave way under him. Even his third leg hurt. She stood outside with breakfast.

"You sister-in-law isn't bringing breakfast today?" he asked, yawning back to his bed.

"I think she has a cold. I couldn't get her out of bed this morning. Mom is making her some herbal soup."

Damn woman! Claude cursed, only half-mad, under his breath. She was a damn succubus.

"Leave it on the table. I'll eat later. I was up all night studying, so I'm still tired. I'm going to sleep a little longer. Oh, also. You practically finished all my snacks, so you might as well just take the box. I don't want you sneaking around my room again. Also, I'll open my door when I wake up, so don't knock if it's closed. Just leave me be."

The girl blushed at his reminder of her thievery, then took the box and disappeared.

Claude got just an hour's sleep before the old bastard's gods-damned hammering woke him again.

Doris brought him lunch that afternoon. She looked much better than someone with a cold ought to, she looked better than she ever had since he'd met her, in fact. The two didn't so much as peep at one another, but Claude could tell she was fighting not to leap on him the whole time she was in the room.

He turned in early that evening, but the sound of the floorboards moving woke him.

"Are you coming up?" the succubus asked.

Claude shook his head.

The succubus's face vanished, but the floorboards weren't replaced. A moment later he saw a white sheet fall through the hole and a figure slide down it.

"Wait, what... what are you doing?" he whispered as loudly as he could, scrambling to get out of her way.

The succubus wormed herself under the sheets, her hands already sliding down his body to rouse his little brother from its slumber.

"If you won't come up, then I'll come down," she whispered in his ear, nibbling on it as she spoke.

Heavens preserve him, Claude thought, feeling his little brother waking to the succubus' ministrations.

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